Dutch protein production receives a major stimulus through the project ‘Field-bean chain innovation project’, the project, five organizations in the chain are working together to improve and advance the Dutch field bean. The aim is to jointly develop new food and feed applications for the field bean and to increase the acreage of field beans to match increasing demand. The project is supported by the province of Overijssel and meets a national goal of stimulating the cultivation of protein crops.
Within food and feed the field bean is a relatively new vegetable protein and can be used in various ways. One of the key aims of the project is to familiarize consumers, food processors and livestock farmers with the benefits of the Dutch field bean. Along with many other high-quality protein crops, the bean virtually disappeared from the production plans of Dutch arable farmers, following the 1992 Blair-House agreement (about the reduction of agricultural subsidies). We need to see this vegetable protein source return to the fields again, as the demand for locally grown protein is rising sharply. Within the project, experience is being gained around cultivation and processing of the field bean and applications for the harvested product. Tastiness and texture of different varieties are also being examined and have already resulted in a ‘field bean hamburger’. The project is clearly contributing to the national goal of putting plant proteins back on the map with arable farmers and consumers.
Whole chain representation
The parties involved are arable farming & fruit growing company De Kortenhof, AgruniekRijnvallei, Frank Food Products, Bobeldijk Food Group and the bakery company Fuite. “The fact that the entire chain is represented in this project is what makes it special,” says project leader Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel. “Partners get to see behind the scenes and learn to know and appreciate each other’s steps in the chain; rapid upscaling is also possible when the demand for field beans increases.” The project is assisted by scientific advice and guidance from Ruud Timmer, researcher at Wageningen University and Research. The project is partly supported by The Protein Cluster, a platform where innovations in the vegetable protein chain are exhibited and projects are initiated. The Protein Cluster connects every aspect of the field bean project from cultivation to the development of end products. “As long as it is an unprofitable crop, growers will have no interest in it. This has to change if we are to have the acreage of new protein sources needed to meet the demand for new food products”, says project leader Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel.
The Protein Cluster
The Protein Cluster (TPC) is the first global platform for ingredient suppliers, food manufacturers, retailers, caterers and other stakeholders seeking ready to use plant-based, vegan or vegetarian solutions. Enabling them to expand their business and meet changing consumer demands towards a healthier and more sustainable diet using more plant-based products. Currently, access to the Green Protein Platform is free of charge.
TPC assists present and future suppliers of plant protein ingredients, semi-finished products, consumer products and technologies in developing and commercializing their innovative products.